In the first of our series of creative profiles we meet Lana Alana.
Spreading her rainbow type across the globe (and on our very own site!), this awesome lady talks travel, text and Karl Pilkington.
Typography by Lana Alana
Interview by Emily Beard
Hey Lana! Tell us a little about you and your work for anyone who is not familiar.
I’m Lana, a British artist living in Melbourne, Australia, Im a graphic designer / lettering artist / sign painter… you know the sort, does a bit of everything.
I have a big love for lettering & typography in all its forms & I am lucky enough to call it my profession. I design, hand draw & paint lettering & signs ranging from logo design, branding, shop signage & murals. I am also one third of London based design studio Animaux Circus from overseas!
Could you tell us a little more about your work with Animaux Circus? How did the studio come about?
I am one third of Animaux Circus Studio based in Dalston, London. I founded the studio back in 2010 with two of my very good friends, when we met studying Graphic Communication at university together.
Working closely alongside each other, we soon realised we had a similar style & interests, which lead us to start working together collaboratively just for fun. Kind of a light break from the stress of being a third year graphic design student! Fast forward a few months to when we graduated, we then thought Hey, we could really do something cool here together, myself and fellow AC member (Margaux Carpentier) relocated to London & met back with third member (Rory Elphick) We then rented a small studio space in Walthamstow to get us started… We began street art projects, sold our products at the Sunday Up Market in Brick Lane and carried on doing our thing and it all went from there really!
It’s been awesome so far getting to work with your best mates doing what you love, we’re actually celebrating our 5th birthday in a few days too!
Do you have a favourite piece of typography/artist you’re inspired by?
Hmm, it’s always a bit of a tricky question as I could seriously go on about this forever! There are so many amazing, talented artists out there…
but to name a few i’m loving at the moment i’d say Dusty Signs, Gary MSK, Ornamental Conifer, Alex May Hughes, Etam Cru, Dabs Myla, Amok Island & the 123Klan.
What is a typical day for you like?
Since I’ve been in living in Australia (just 3 months now) my routine has been pretty similar here. I get up around 8am and I do a bit of sleep walking coffee making, then I stand at my bedroom window drinking that coffee looking at the view…much like how Lumbergh from Office Space would be. I’m usually good to go and start my day by 9, which begins with emails, a bit of internetting to see what the worlds up to (and catch up with my London friends & family before they head to bed) then I make a start on whatever I’m working on at that time, usually a bit of hand lettering design. Although my usual day in London is quite different… I get to the studio with my AC buddies, have coffee & breakfast whilst discussing what we’re going to eat for lunch that day!! and then we get to work… work can be anything from a bit of digital design at our desks to painting a 60ft mural in the street. Everyday is a different adventure with Animaux Circus & that’s why I love it. Our work has taken us to a range of locations, for example – working in Waterloo train station overnight when it’s al closed, balancing on ladders over stairwells painting the walls to laying on the floor painting banners in Regents Park for restaurant pop-up events. It’s currently winter in Australia, but I’m looking forward to painting outside again soon!
You use a lot of different mediums for your work, which is your favourite to work with?
I really love spray painting on walls, there’s something about the way the paint covers a brick wall that really makes me happy to watch! The smell of the paint, being outdoors & chatting to people is also really interesting to me. I can’t imagine ever getting bored of that. Once you start this kind of work, its addictive, you’re constantly looking at walls and buildings in a different way, wondering if you could paint them and how you might get up there to do so. My other love is sign writing, using lettering enamels with the gorgeous sign writing brushes. I find it pretty hypnotising… It’s a really smooth way to paint that requires a pretty steady hand, I absolutely love painting me some smooth lines!
You’re originally from London; what are your favourite things to do in the city?
London is great, there’s so much to do which changes everyday. I’m really into cycling and so going out in the city and just getting lost, having to work out how to get home is a good challenge I’ve enjoyed in the past, and you find so many more things you might not see on public transport. (Except once it was raining and I got off the train at night at Kings Cross Station, my phone had died & I had to cycle back to Clapton on guess work in rush hour!! I got soaked right through! that one wasn’t so fun)
But anyway, I love the street art, drinking beers with friends on their rooftops, laughing at how many matresses can be spotted on a daily basis in East London. I also really like the Walthamstow Marshes Cycle path too. Now that I’m currently not living in London, it makes me miss lots about it actually, the cosy cold, dark nights in the east end pubs, and the people. There’s something about the London streets I miss that you don’t really get in Australia. The general vibe of the city at night like an episode of Spaced.
We love your travel typography documented on your instagram; where has been your favourite place to create work?
Ah Thanks! I’ve had a lot of fun working on this project (of course, I’ve been travelling at the same time!)
It would have to be in Indonesia though, such an amazingly beautiful, friendly country. I turned 30 whilst on a little Island there and so it was like a dream being there & getting to paint too!
Just so incredible, swimming with turtles in the sea, sunbathing and exploring the tiny island. Also I painted a mural with Rory of Animaux Circus in Canggu Bali. The place is so awesome, I’d defintely recommend a visit. I’m in love! It’s just so inspiring to meet people, hear their stories, look at the most beautiful landscapes and take it all in for a while. I don’t want to forget ever going to these places, so I thought it would be great to look at them again when i’m an old lady!
What is your current soundtrack when working?
At the moment I’m listening to Flying Lotus’ Lovers Melt mixes. He’s brilliant. I’ve noticed something about myself whilst working though… the work I do requires such precision sometimes that I can’t actually listen to anything too exciting as I start to move around to much! I give myself little pauses to dance in my seat when a really good tune comes on sometimes.
I rotate that with a bit of Beyonce because it reminds me of being back in the London studio with Margaux dancing to drunk in love! It’s cheesey I know, but I love it.
When it all gets a bit too distracting though, I’ve got Karl Pilkington’s Diary podcasts at the ready to keep me entertained.
And finally if you had to pick one word to create type for (that you haven’t already) which would it be?
Ooh, I’ve got a scrap of paper I’ve been carrying around on my travels with me of words I hear in songs, & general life that I really like. It’s getting a bit screwed up now actually but one day I’ll find the time to get them all painted. I’m really into words that can be adapted to cycling or motorcycle style at the moment (i love it!) Next on the list though will be Lover or Loverboy!
Now I just need to find a motorbike to paint…